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Mark's Daily Apple

14 Mar

Healthy Daylight Savings Tips

Times, they are a-changin’.

This week’s Aaron’s Additions brings you news and tips about the spring time change. If you’re feeling a little bit behind this week (I know I am!), there’s a very good reason: the time change throws off everyone’s circadian rhythms, and work productivity and sleep habits can suffer temporarily. The extra sunshine feels great (don’t forget the sunscreen), but it’s not without a few temporary drawbacks.

I aim to bring you the latest health tools, tips and blogs from Web 2.0 (that handy term for the growing personalized, community nature of the internet). Since we’re all in this time change together, I think some helpful resources are in order!

Here are some helpful and humorous tools and links for you to get yourself back on track:

How Daylight Savings Time Affects You

Psych Central brings us a great article explaining the benefits and drawbacks of Daylight Savings Time – as well as a very helpful review of how this affects the mood, mind and body. It won’t put you to sleep, but it will help you understand the important relationship between sunlight and snoozing.

Has Everyone Gone Nuts?

If you’re feeling a little off this week, you’re not alone. Evidently everyone is feeling a little out of sorts! Grumplestiltskin at Woulda Coulda Shoulda doesn’t mince words about the off-kilter antics everyone seems to be involved in. A little comedic relief is good for everyone!

Let the Sun In

Maynard Clark offers some very helpful tips for adjusting to a new sleep and work schedule. Check it out!

A Parent’s Perspective

Your Fitness shares the number one tip for adjusting to daylight savings, plus some helpful links.

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Rick Harris Flickrstream

14 Mar

Part 2: Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb

This is part 2 of our interview with low-carb blog star Jimmy Moore of Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb. Yesterday we discussed the benefits and health myths of a low-carb lifestyle.

moore

Jimmy Moore stops in…

On the plate for today: cheating, pasta, and those darn vegetarians!

Ok, the question everyone asks: Don’t you ever miss pasta? Do you ever cheat?

“You know, I have always found the ‘don’t you ever miss’ questions people have for me so incredibly fascinating. Is there some mysterious super-secret book of foods everyone should be eating floating around out there that mandates human beings must eat pasta, bread, potatoes, and sugar?

The fact is, I do not miss ANYTHING from my old diet that would lead me to start ballooning up over 400 pounds again. Nope! Not gonna happen if I can do anything about it (and I can!).

However, I have found two excellent pasta substitutes that are low-carb and taste awesome. For Italian dishes and traditional pasta, I enjoy the Dreamfields brand because it really does taste like authentic pasta, unlike some of these other imitators that have much higher carbs and are totally disgusting.

Another pasta substitute I enjoy, especially in soups and Oriental dishes, is Shirataki noodles. These Japanese wonder noodles are one of the hottest new health foods out today because they are very low in carbs, fat, and calories. Made from yam root (sounds grosser than it is) and loaded with fiber, these noodles give me all the pasta goodness I need.

shirataki

As for cheating, on principle I am against it when it is done spontaneously. That kinda defeats the purpose of making this a permanent ‘lifestyle change’. But I do advocate something that is controversial within the low-carb community called a ‘planned splurge’ or ‘controlled cheating’.

The basic concept is to allow yourself one meal about every 6-8 weeks while you are losing weight when you are allowed to eat whatever you want. No restrictions on carbs, calories, portions, or anything else. I used this strategy to get me through the toughest moments and it helped me in the long run.

If you are having deep cravings, as all of us who have kicked our carb addiction will tell you comes at you with a vengeance, then having the knowledge that there is a date coming up soon when I can satisfy that craving gave me the strength to resist temptation. This is a powerful tool that I highly recommend to anyone who thinks they can never live without whatever food they love.

Don’t get me wrong – this is for ONE meal, not a whole day or a whole weekend. One single meal and then right back on plan again. Making this a permanent way of eating is absolutely crucial to your success at not just losing the weight, but keeping it off for good.

What if a vegetarian wants to do low-carb?

Contrary to popular belief, a vegetarian can most certainly fit right in to the low-carb lifestyle by consuming those foods that they can have. Far too often, the low-carb diet is stereotyped as a meat-based diet. Sure, many active low-carbers include meat in their diet because they can. But it’s not necessarily a requirement.

What would I recommend? Eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables, blueberries, melon, strawberries, green beans, broccoli, cantaloupe…need I go on? Sure, your food choices are diminished somewhat on a low-carb diet if you forsake the meat, but there’s really no excuse why you couldn’t enjoy a healthy low-carb lifestyle and maintain your convictions as a vegetarian.

Being a vegan, on the other hand, you’re just outta luck!

Let’s talk about the difference between “healthy” low-carb and “unhealthy” low-carb.

This is an interesting subject and can be debated quite passionately by people on both sides of the spectrum. But I take a different approach to this subject as someone who actually lived it and found great success.

I’m a big believer in incrementalism when it comes to making changes. As much as all the experts in diet and health would like overweight and obese people to “flip the switch” and transition from an unhealthy eater into a healthy one overnight, it just doesn’t work that way. If it did, then NOBODY would be fat anymore.

The person must first get out of health danger by bringing their weight under control first, even if that means eating some processed foods along the way. Then they can begin making tweaks here and there to their diet after they have become used to eating healthy perhaps for the first time in their lives. I don’t see any reason why we should rush the process because this will be a lifetime commitment in the end.

If you could recommend 3 changes every person should make in his/her lifestyle, diet or fitness routine, what would those changes be?

This is an easy one:

One: Don’t diet or you’ll DIE in the process. Regardless of the specific plan you choose, decide ahead of time that you REALLY want to do this, learn all you can, and then keep doing that plan for the rest of your life.

Two: As much as you think you can’t do it right now, totally give up your sugar habit RIGHT NOW. Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are nearly single-handedly ruining the weight and health of tens of millions of Americans today. Get ‘em out of your life TODAY because they are rat poison for your body.

Three: Whatever you are doing to try to lose weight, don’t ever give up! If you are following a plan that just ain’t working for you, then try something else. But always stay in the game and learn from every experience you go through. I have no doubt in my mind that there is SOMETHING that will work to help every single person with a weight problem shed the pounds for good. The trick is to find what that plan is for you and then never get off that plan again. You can do it!

What do you believe is the biggest myth about low-carbin’?

Besides the supposed heart health and cholesterol issues you mentioned earlier, the new myth that opponents of livin’ la vida low-carb have been floating around out there lately goes something like this: ‘Sure, low-carb diets can certainly be good for short-term weight loss, but the long-term implications of such as ‘extreme’ diet like that are suspect.’

I actually heard a major health expert (a low-fat diet proponent) in the United States utter that exact sentence following the release of the now-infamous JAMA study out of Stanford University that found the Atkins diet was the best diet for weight loss and improved health over a one-year period. But the myth is the diet suddenly stops working at the end of those 365 days. How ludicrous!

It has now been over three years and counting since I began livin’ la vida low-carb and it’s still performing quite well for both my weight and my health. This is the longest period of time I have ever been able to sustain my weight loss.”

Thanks for stopping by MDA to share your views, Jimmy. Always a pleasure.

I’d like to add that I personally do not advocate any processed foods (bacon, sausage, cheese) nor do I support carb “alternatives” like Shirataki and Dreamfields pasta. However, I agree that it’s pretty tough (if not impossible) to go cold-turkey for the many millions of us who have spent a lifetime living on pasta, bagels, burritos and burgers.

I’ve been there, believe me. As a professional athlete, there were days where no carton of ice cream stood a chance of a snow cone in…well, you get the idea.

In my peak triathlon years, pasta and pancakes were the Holy Grail of competition, and I suffered tremendous problems as a result (as did many, if not most, of my fellow athletes). I look at the younger generation of athletes and sadly, not a lot has changed. You’d be surprised at how many “perfect” athletes are just as sick, stressed, inflamed and at risk of serious health problems as regular Joes and Janes living on what I call the Uncle Sam Sampler (carbs, carbs and more carbs).

Transitioning from a fine-tuned (yet completely unhealthy) competitive machine to a healthier, sustainable fitness level and dietary lifestyle wasn’t easy, but it was infinitely worth the choice. You do have to make a total paradigm shift – it’s not a diet that will get you the results you want. It’s a lifestyle.

The big problem with weight loss plans – and why they almost all ultimately fail – is that we often have no long-term plan. We think “diet”. We hope for fast, measurable results.

But where’s the long-term plan? As so many self-help gurus like to preach, if you always do what you’ve always done, why would anyone expect a different result than what you’ve always gotten?

A diet is not the path to the health or body you want. A lifestyle, on the other hand, can be. So, while I don’t endorse processed foods and “faux” carbs, I do endorse doing whatever it takes in the short term to get you healthy in the long term (well, within reason!). Are you hoping for quick results, or are you truly willing to change your life – for life? It’s a question that has to be asked, because it means the difference between failure and success, and many of us forget to ask.

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13 Mar

Meat, Milk, and Medicare

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

What a stew! Today’s ingredients: secrets you might not know about meat, the government crackdown on “criminal” raw milk farmers (aren’t there terrorists to find?), and the latest health care progress in Washington, D.C.

Where’s the Beef?

Swimming in saline, that’s where. A great article highlights ten secrets of meat you may not be aware of. To wit: many (most) packaged meats are injected with saline solutions to make them plumper, tastier and longer-lasting. No wonder we have blood pressure problems!

The great thing: with a little questioning, it’s easy to find quality meat. Don’t be shy!

i333865 steakysteak

Ulterior Epicure Flickrstream

Oh, the Hill

John Aloysius Farrell blogs brilliantly about the major problem with health care in politics: they’re all talk, no action. (Also, we love the name Aloysius.)

Uncle Sam Cracks Down

A guy can smoke cigarettes, swill bourbon, pop pharmaceuticals known to kill, subsist on spinal-meat burritos from Taco Bell, and maintain three (or thirty) lives on Myspace – all legally. Why? Uncle Sam is too busy cracking down on the real menace to society – raw milk farmers.

i333843 handcuffs

Obesity Surgery: not a Quick Fix!

Obesity surgery has many dangerous side effects – and some pesky ones as well. Among them: today’s news on surgery and memory loss.

Obesity affects 1 in 3 Americans, and losing weight can seem overwhelming. Though natural methods aren’t instant, they are safer, cheaper and more rewarding in the long run. Be sure to scroll down to check out fellow blogger Jimmy Moore’s success with a low-carb lifestyle, and check out our helpful diet and weight loss tips. Categories such as Mark’s Tuesday 10 are loaded with sensible, easy, healthy advice that works!

13 Mar

The Fuming Fuji Says No to Nutripals

FUJ

The Fuming Fuji is outraged at the marketing of toxic food, especially when it is aimed at the small fry. This week, the Fuming Fuji has decided to have a serious problem with Nutripals.

But Fuming Fuji, you say, Nutripals bars have twice the protein and fiber of other children’s snack bars like Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars! Just look at how great these nutritious snacks are!

i333884 nutripalsmore

The Fuming Fuji says no!

The claim: Nutripals are great, Fuji! The commercial explains that compared to other snacks, this is a “balanced” nutrition snack for kids!

The catch: Listen very carefully. The Fuji cares, which is why I may explode. That would be unfortunate.

ADDING nutritious ingredients to garbage does not make an unhealthy food miraculously healthy. These laboratories (Nutripals belongs to PediaSure which belongs to Abbott Laboratories) creating processed confections wish for you to believe their happy antioxidant marketing, but do NOT be fooled, Apples! The Fuji has seen the commercials you speak of. Puppies and flowers and protein grams do not change a food that is full of the same things that go in your automobile.

The comeback: Yikes! Calm down, Fuming Fuji! Sure, there’s a little sugar and processing. How bad can it be? You are getting carried away with that automobile nonsense! Kids want snacks. If you can give them fiber and protein and antioxidants, what is the harm?

The conclusion: The Fuji can slather olive oil on a candy bar, but that does not make the candy bar healthy (admit it, you thought about it for a second). I grow tired, Apples, very tired of these evil food manufacturers tricking people.

You see “protein” and “fiber” and “antioxidants” and think “Sounds good to me!” But look at the ingredients. Do not take my word for it, just look below. How does glycerine (a derivative of petroleum, thank you very much automobile analogy doubters) equal health?

i333882 nutripals

The journey of junk from a laboratory vat to a rectangular stick of sweet goo is a deceptive and ugly one that harms children. Of course they gloat about the protein and fiber (miniscule amounts the Fuji would not really be bragging about anyway). Just look at all the other garbage they do not discuss!

The catchphrase: You can dress it up in pretty vitamin sprinkles, but trash is still trash.

Disclaimer: Mark Sisson and the Worker Bees do not necessarily endorse the views of the Fuming Fuji.

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13 Mar

Jimmy Moore: Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb & Lovin’ It

Apples: I’m very pleased to bring you a can’t-miss interview with everyone’s favorite low-carb blogger, low-carb rock star Jimmy Moore of Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb. Jimmy’s wildly popular blog (and new low-carb links site) features everything you could ever want to know about the low-carb philosophy from the guy who lost over 200 pounds and remade his health.

As you know, I subscribe to a healthy low-carb lifestyle, and based on my background in biology and professional sports competition, I recommend a reduced-carb approach wholeheartedly.

My personal recommendations:

1. Drench yourself in good fats.

2. Eat plenty of lean protein.

3. Eat green and colorful vegetables with reckless abandon.

The important thing to understand is that low-carb (whether Atkins or a host of others) does not really mean high-protein. It simply means avoiding carbs – for some, that means all grain-based carbs, while for others, it means refined and processed carbs. As Jimmy points out, everyone is unique and there are many ways to go about a healthy diet. However, low-carb definitely doesn’t mean subsisting on bacon.

I’ve been saying for quite a while that sugar is the new fat (and low and behold, here’s a terrific cookbook Jimmy reviewed that says just that). While we were all busy avoiding fat during the 80s and 90s, we were, in truth, just making ourselves sicker, fatter and miserable. It’s safe to say that the fear of fat has come full circle (and it’s about time). But there’s still a lot of confusion about healthy nutrition and weight loss. Is Atkins really effective? Isn’t it just an all-meat diet? What about whole grains?

As many of you know, last week was quite a wild one in the world of health with the release of the Stanford study on low-fat versus low-carb diets. Let’s put it this way: Ornish ain’t happy. It’s been quite a controversial and interesting several days for Jimmy, me and dozens of other health bloggers and nutrition experts, to say the least!

Jimmy took a moment to chat about the reasoning, benefits and myths of low-carb living. We’re featuring his thoughtful responses to your popular “low-carb questions” today and tomorrow. (On the agenda for tomorrow: Can vegetarians go low-carb? What about cheating?) I think the great thing is that blogging, and the communities that develop, are helping people take responsibility for themselves and get control of their health.

Jimmy Moore, before and after:

moorebeforeandafter

Here’s what the man has to say about carbs – and what the lack of them can do!

What are the top 3 benefits you have found for going low-carb?

“Do I have to limit it to just THREE?! Okay, here goes:

Numero uno: It’s the most delicious and healthy diet plan you’ll ever go on.

One of the most frustrating parts of weight loss is feeling deprived, hungry, and absolutely miserable. Why do we put up with feeling that way when there is a much better way to lose weight and get healthy? It’s livin’ la vida low-carb, baby!

Truth be told, I lost 170 pounds on a low-fat diet in 1999, but it was not sustainable over the long-term. I gained back all of that weight I lost in only four months because I was rebelling against having to feel that way just to be ‘healthy’. But not anymore. Low-carb is the exact lifestyle change I had been looking for my entire life.

Numero dos: Beyond the weight loss, my health is as stellar as it has ever been.

When you start talking about the Atkins/low-carb diet, most people immediately conjure up thoughts about weight loss. But the benefits of this way of eating go so much further than that: my blood pressure dropped, my HDL ‘good’ cholesterol skyrocketed 50 points, my triglycerides dropped from the 300′s down to below 50, my resting heart rate is around 50 bpm, I’m no longer taking ANY prescription medications (WOO HOO!), and I’m more active today at the age of 35 then I ever was as a teenager.

How can you put a price on getting your health back? Yes, the weight loss was absolutely wonderful, but this newfound energy and excitement about living life again made my decision to start livin’ la vida low-carb one I will never ever regret for the rest of my long and healthy life. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me and I feel like I have been given a real miracle from God.

Numero tres: You develop a healthy sense of skepticism about dietary claims.

When I weighed 410 pounds, my cursory knowledge of eating right meant consuming foods that are low in fat, reduced-calorie, and to eat like a bird. Let’s face it, most people are exactly like I was and don’t have a clue when it comes to diet and nutrition. Is it any wonder why two out of three Americans are overweight or obese?

Getting people to finally care enough about their own weight and health is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome in this battle against obesity. Most people just don’t give a rip about those things because they don’t see the imminent danger to themselves or the burden they are or soon will be having on our health care system in the coming years. The low-carb lifestyle woke me up to this reality and is the biggest unsung benefit of transitioning to the low-carb way of life.”

Do you think some people can function well on a higher-carb diet (such as one including whole grains – don’t we need fiber)?

“It’s important to distinguish what is meant by a ‘higher-carb diet’. While I don’t believe livin’ la vida low-carb is necessarily for everyone (GASP!), it is best for everyone to try to eliminate their consumption of sugar, white flour, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, junk food, fast food, processed foods, pasta, rice, and the like. These are all garbage carbs that your body just doesn’t need.

However, if someone has their weight under control and they want to eat a few more ‘whole grain’ products to supplement their diet with fiber, that’s certainly fine with me. But there are better ways to get fiber than from these so-called healthy ‘whole grains’, particularly when you are trying to lose weight on low-carb.

It kills me how the cereal companies especially have latched on to this whole grain craze in their marketing efforts by promoting their new ‘whole grain’ Lucky Charms or Frosted Flakes. What’s bad about this is people are convinced they are eating healthy when they buy this junk! UGH!

Besides the gobs of sugar (if it’s double digit per serving, then that’s TOO much!) they pour into these products, even the supposedly healthy whole grains are carbohydrates that will turn into sugar once they are metabolized. So if the immediate sugar rush from the high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar they put into these products doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels, then the whole grains will.

There are plenty of ways to get all the fiber your low-carb diet needs without resorting to ruining your efforts messing around with ‘whole grain’ products. Remember, the companies that make this stuff don’t care about your health. All they want is to make a profit off of the illusion they are helping you improve your health. That’s an important distinction to always remember (the skeptic in me that I previously talked about is always on alert).”

Okay, but what about heart disease and high cholesterol?

“Yeah, what about it? Ha! The fact of the matter is the latest research being published is proving these long-held beliefs regarding low-carb diets are just urban legends that have been shattered by scientific studies.

On the issue of heart disease, Dr. Frank Hu from the Harvard School of Public Health led a long-term 20-year study of nearly 83,000 women on the heart health effects of the low-carb diet that was published in the November 9, 2006 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. What he and his fellow panel of distinguished researchers found was a low-carb diet is no more harmful to heart health than a low-fat diet. This is remarkable research that was all but ignored by the media and the I’ve-got-an-agenda health ‘experts’ in this country. This is yet another reason people should take their diet and health into their own hands because the truth is being squashed and silenced.

Regarding cholesterol, there’s so much research in this area that it’s gonna be very difficult for the medical community to keep looking the other way about it. While every other commercial on television these days is for another new cholesterol-lowering wonder drug, the fact of the matter is most people DON’T have a high LDL cholesterol problem – what they have is too high triglycerides and too low HDL.”

Well put, Jimmy. Be sure to check back later today for a laugh from the always cantankerous children’s health advocate Fuming Fuji, and visit tomorrow to read the rest of the interview with Jimmy Moore as we address the myths of nutrition and dieting.

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